Dayton rolling despite big losses

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On December 17, 2014 the Dayton Flyers lost two big pieces, literally. UD dismissed starting center Devon Scott and his backup, Jalen Robinson. The two F/Cs checked in at a combined 13’8 and 458 lbs, leaving the Flyers with no player that stands taller than 6’6.

They are a perfect 5-0 since.

Dayton’s switch to forced small ball has had an immediate positive impact on UD’s offense. Archie Miller’s squad has increased their points per game average by 13 points while allowing just 4.7 additional points on D, good for an increase in margin of victory of +8.3 points.

Much of this can be credited to an increase in three-point shooting percentage that has been much improved since Dayton has been forced to used more versatile players.

Last season’s Flyers squad connected on 37.7% of their threes en route to Dayton’s Elite 8 appearance, a stat that ranked 54th nationally. With Scott and Robinson, UD started this season an ice-cold 42-156 from distance for over a 10% drop in 3p% from last season’s team at a miserable 26.9%.

Since the dismissal of Dayton’s two 6’9 bigs, the impact, for whatever reason, has been instant and dramatic.

UD has shot under 40% from deep in just one of their five wins over that span — 38.5% against Duquesne, still an improvement over last year’s team. They have shot over 55% from deep twice and are a combined 53-111 for a blistering 47.7% from distance as a team over the five-game span since losing Scott and Robinson.

That would lead the nation if you counted only Dayton’s “new team” percentage since their first small ball game against Boston University.

Be it better ball movement, an increased sense of urgency, luck or who knows what, it’s working.

Dayton has branded themselves #TrueTeam and since dismissing those without the Flyers ultimate priorities in mind, they have been just that.

The Flyers moved to 12-2 (2-0) last night with a 17-point win at St. Bonaventure and will continue their New York road trip Saturday with a road tilt at Fordham.

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About Author

Mat Shelton-Eide has been involved in college athletics since 2007, starting as a co-founder of VCURamNation.com where he covered the Rams all the way to Houston as the one-time CAA darling shocked the hoops world with a historic run to the Final 4. He has worked within two Atlantic 10 athletic departments, first as a graduate assistant in the VCU Sports Information Department during the '09-'10 basketball season, then after receiving his M.Ed. from VCU's Center for Sport Leadership, as a ticketing and marketing intern in the University of Richmond's athletic department during the inaugural season of Richmond's Robins Stadium, months before the Spiders 2011 Sweet 16 run.

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